Panel members in attendance are Wayne Clough, Cecil Lue-Hing, Mike Marcotte, Larry
Roth and Nancy Wheatley. Participating via conference phone were Billy Turner
and Jeff Hilliard.
Dr. Clough called the meeting to order at 9:00 AM. He announced that minutes
from each meeting will be available to public. Dr. Clough then introduced Clair
Muller, a member of the Atlanta City Council. She thanked the panel for the
work they are doing.
Dr. Clough asked everyone in the room to introduce themselves and say which
group they were representing.
The Panel had a few questions that they would like for Joe Basista and Mike
Mynhier of the PMT to respond to before the next meeting.
1) The Panel wants to understand all the players and how they fit, such as
consultants, city engineers, city employees, etc.
2) Thoughts on delivery issues and how they are going to organize themselves
to deliver the systems that were discussed at the June 28 meeting.
3) What has been done in the way of public education and information? Is
there a summary?
4) What has been done on the studies of disruption issues associated with
5) What kind of capabilities do we have in the workforce to carry out construction,
because it has to be done in a short period of time. The Panel wants the PMT’s
best assessment of capability to get everything built.
6) What will be done with storm water issues if they do go to separation?
7) Has the question of separating conveyance and storage been considered?
Particularly where they might look at storage downtown as opposed to storage
in tunnels out in the suburbs.
Dr. Clough listed speakers whom the Panel would like to hear from at the next
meeting. They include a Region 4 EPA representative, Harold Reheis or one of
his people from EPD, someone from the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, someone
Metro North Georgia Water Planning District, someone from Minneapolis/St. Paul
and someone from Milwaukee.
Regarding today’s presentations, Dr. Clough reminded the presenters that the
Panel needs to understand questions relating to cost, water quality issues and
standards, feasibility (must get done by 2007), quality of life, and public
acceptance of their system.
Dr. Jackie Echols, representing the Clean Streams Task Force, was the first
presenter. She is a resident of Atlanta and has taught public management at
Clark Atlanta University for eight years. Dr. Echols said that Clean Streams
is comprised of informed citizens that support complete sewer separation and
storm water greenways. She noted that Clean Streams is supported by more than
13 community groups.
It is their sincere belief that separating the last 15% of Atlanta’s combined
sewer system is the most efficient and effective way to handle the CSO problem.
Atlanta should fix its CSO problem once and for all with 100% sewer separation
and storm water greenways.
Dr. Echols said that the setting of a 2007 deadline to get all the work done
has resulted in an option – the tunnel – that is not the best nor the most cost
effective. She said that currently the cost analysis for sewer separation is
$500 million and the cost of the tunnel is estimated to be $627 million. She
said the data shows that complete separation is the most cost effective option
and provides the best water quality.
Separation alone is not enough. It is critical that the City recognizes that
failure to integrate storm water greenways in the sewer separation scenario
will only exacerbate the water pollution problem in Atlanta.
Her presentation focused on explaining why they support sewer separation with
storm water greenways, review cost and benefit data, and provide visual support
for the practicality and beauty of separation and greenways.
She said that one consultant estimates the cost for storm water greenways at
$300 million and another estimates it at $1.2 billion. The City promotes the
$1.2 billion approach and has brushed aside serious evaluation of a more cost
effective storm water greenways option.
She said that storm water greenways will help to rebuild the crumbling city
infrastructure. It brings the sewer systems in the oldest 15% of the City to
modern standards currently enjoyed by 85% of the City.
It also eliminates raw sewage flooding homes, parks, streets and streams, reduces
raw sewage disease sources, and eliminates chlorine disinfecting which adds
priority pollutants to streams and rivers. It eliminates disruptions caused
by collapsing sewers and overflows. It also brings 600 acres of new parkland
and greenways with spring and rainwater ponds, which revitalizes the face of
the City with redevelopment opportunities.
She contends that the City’s consultants say 611 acres are needed, of which
272 acres would be storm water ponds and the balance would be park land. Clean
Streams has identified 631 acres for this and will work to identify more.
Environmental advantages – the complete separation and storm water greenways
option produces cleaner water faster. It removes three million pounds more pollution
per year than tunnels and it eliminates 100% of human sewage from urban streams.
It also eliminates heavy chlorinating which creates priority pollutants. It
also reduces flooding – greenways will capture a 10-year rain event and maybe
a 25-year rain event. The tunnel does not address localized flooding.
Sanitary sewage is a source of 77% of the pollution flowing from Atlanta’s
CSOs into urban streams and rivers. Only 23% comes from storm water. Greenways
will remove 83% of storm water pollution.
Dr. Echols said there are economic benefits to this plan. It is a point of
revitalization that the storm water greenways can be a catalyst that spawns
redevelopment in the center city. It could lower property tax rates because
of an increased tax base, create more unskilled and semi-skilled jobs, lower
capital and O&M costs, thus moderating sewer rates. Other economic benefits
would be to have more time to raise federal, state and private funding, moderating
sewer rate increases, and eliminating financial risk. She said complete sewer
separation is the only solution to meet the mandates of the Clean Water Act.
She contends that, from a cost standpoint, it makes more sense to commit funds
to the solution that will not only solve the problem but will also pay dividends
to the City and its citizens.
Joe Basista asked Dr. Echols to tell him the total estimated capital cost to
implement their plan. She said it is their belief that it can be done within
the $950 million budget. Their estimate says that 100% separation will cost
$500 million and storm water greenways will cost $300 million.
When asked what would be the proposed schedule to implement this plan, Dr.
Echols said that most of it could be done by 2010 or 2012.
Mike Marcotte asked about their assumptions regarding land issues including
the cost and time to acquire land. Dr. Echols said much of the land is owned
by the City already and several other parcels are in very depressed areas. Land
acquisition costs are included in the $300 million.
Her plan calls for the existing CSOs to be used as storm water screening devices
only for some of the water. The upstream ponds would have their own screening
facilities. That cost is built into the estimates.
She was asked by the Panel if she believed disruption to businesses can be
managed while separating the urban core. She responded that this would be problematical.
Joe Basista said that by the next meeting they will have a comparative analysis
summarizing the status of the storm water management refinement evaluations
to date that will raise some questions and stimulate discussion.
The next presentation was by Edith Ladipo on behalf of the NPU (Neighborhood
Planning Unit) Environmental Advisory Committee.
The Environmental Advisory Committee was established by the Atlanta Planning
and Advisory Board (APAB) to address this issue. The APAB is a charter-mandated
citizen-involvement and participation program. It was established in the 1975
charter and was approved by the state legislature. It was established by city
ordinance in 1977 by the City of Atlanta.
The ordinance provides for the preservation of information. It says that the
Bureau of Planning should make available to NPU’s basic information including,
but not limited to, the areas of land use, transportation, community facilities,
environmental quality, open space and parks, and citizen involvement in planning
and zoning to assist them in neighborhood planning activities.
APAB has 24 NPUs. Within in the NPUs are neighborhood associations – citizens,
businesses, faith-based organizations. Each NPU represents approximately 16,000
In October 2001, the NPUs began working on this issue and a resolution was
developed by the APAB and it voted to support the idea or concept of sewer separation.
The Environmental Committee was established in order to educate the general
public about sewer separation.
During nine meetings held thus far, the committee has reviewed the CSO Remedial
Measures Report Volumes 1 and 2, CSO Court Order, Water Quality of Georgia 1998-1999
Planning Report, Environmental Justice Presentation from USEPA, Affordability
Analysis, CSO Geo-Technical Report, W.L. Jorden Pre-Design, Maps and Graphics,
Environmental and Constitutional Laws, Statutes and Executive Orders, Presentation
by Dr. Thomas Debo entitled “Using Natural Systems to Control Storm Water” and
other supporting documentation.
In their examination of these documents, the APAB found a lack of communication
with the City because the preferred option the City was considering did not
include complete sewer separation. They found inconsistencies with the time
analysis, cost analysis, and technical analysis, as well as inadequate funding
strategies which did not include other funding sources. There was a failure
to include the organized citizens in the planning process, unintended environmental
justice issues, limited access to pertinent information, no consideration for
the importance of best management practices (BMP), no evidence of an Environmental
and Health Impact Assessment, no environmental education or outreach and no
pollution prevention program.
To date, they have informed the NPU’s of the Consent Decree, the Remedial Measures
Report, the sewer separation resolution, the BMP for storm water control, refinements
of Option C and 100% sewer separation, new pre-design options and affordability
of all options. She contends there is continued refinement to the City’s option
because of citizen involvement.
The Committee wanted to know the evaluation criteria and determined that they
needed to look at cost, schedule, water quality and quality of life. They didn’t
want a plan that is effective for today but not tomorrow.
Regarding cost, they wanted to look at capital cost, annual O&M costs and
life-cycle cost. Regarding the schedule, can the CSO Consent Decree be met by
2007 and can the SSO Consent Decree be met by 2014? The Consent Decree deadlines
can be adjusted by agreement of EPA/EPD and the federal court.
Regarding water quality, the NPUs looked at reduction in pollutant load to
downstream streams and rivers, total suspended solids (TSS), the biological
oxygen demand (BOD), fecal coliform, phosphorus, ammonia and metals (copper
They looked at quality of life issues including impact of CSOs along miles
of streams through neighborhoods, health and safety impacts, risk of pollution
to aquifers, impact of combined sewer system backups into businesses and residences,
mental health impact, short-term construction impact, long-term operation and
maintenance impact, impact to property valuation, impact to rate payers, construction
jobs creation, O&M jobs creation, creation of jobs in impacted neighborhoods,
storm water as a resource, economic development opportunities associated with
storm water management, and creation of live/work/recreation areas through storm
The next steps for the Environmental Committee include continued open dialogue
between the Clean Water Advisory Panel and APAB’s Environmental Committee, follow-up
presentations as the pre-design phase continues, timely notice as selection
criteria evolves, study of health and environmental justice issues, study of
storm water utilities, continued study of BMP’s for storm water management,
continued study of funding options and Clean Water Act review and training.
Ms. Ladipo emphasized that citizens need to be involved – the City must include
stakeholders. Education and community involvement is vitally important. Having
accurate information – making sure everything you read and all the decisions
that are made are based on accurate information – that is something they haven’t
had in the past.
She was asked by the panel if there are any metrics for the Quality of Life
criteria. Ms. Ladipo indicated that there are none yet, but that is the next
step for them to do so.
She was asked if they have methods for assessing impacts on small businesses.
She indicated more work is necessary to do this.
The panel asked her suggestions on moving forward. Ms. Ladipo responded that
the citizens need to be involved, and that accurate and timely technical information
needs to be provided to them.
The next presentation was by Dr. James Brooks, pastor of Grace Lutheran Church,
which is in the affected area. His congregation became interested in this issue
when former Mayor Bill Campbell said that their sewer bills could go up $100
per month. He is joined in his plan by James Aton, a professional engineer,
and Haywood Currie, who owns his own engineering firm in Marietta. They are
collectively known as the ABC Group.
The ABC Group idea is the installation of an aerobic system that will solve
the City’s CSO problem. Since not much money has changed hands so far toward
the tunnel plan, Rev. Brooks thinks the table should still be open to other
The aerobic option would cost less than 5% of the current $3 billion plan.
It would be a $150 million maximum expenditure. No streets would need to be
torn up and it would take care of Atlanta’s civic waste.
In his explanation of aerobic bacteria, he said there is a family of microscopic
bacteria that has an enormous appetite for human waste. These aerobic bacteria
are in our waste and need only the city’s sewer system (which is already in
place) to thrive. These bacteria separate all the components of our waste into
its original state which results in a “slightly stained, but otherwise completely
clear and odor-free water” in four and a half hours.
There is no separate installation required for the system. The bacteria need
three things – a safe setting, a constant type of protection from their enemies,
one of which is chlorine, and a supplemental source of fresh oxygen. We would
aerate the sewer.
Everyone could have a system installed on the property for $7,500 – 1/20th
of the tunnel plan cost. There are three tanks underground – a settlement tank,
a treatment tank where the bacteria go to work and a disposal tank where the
odorless and colorless water would be. Then it could be expelled to the sewer
system or through underground emitters that would fertilize the yard.
Regarding runoff, the same rules apply. They would be biodegraded by bacteria.
Fast food wrappers, cigarette butts, etc., should be picked up in advance by
school children – or prisoners – who could be given a reward for how much they
bring in. Also, motorized vehicles could vacuum gutters regularly and make the
City look very clean.
They would use aerobic bacteria in the sewers up to the center part of the
city. Then at about six miles out from the rivers, we would begin to have aerobic
tanks. In general, the estimate would be below a $100 million range for the
Pictures in the presentation materials are from Dr. Brooks’ own experiment.
Mr. Marcotte asked him where the solid material went in the third picture. There
were some large particles – he thinks they are minerals – that went to the bottom,
which he disposed of before the picture was taken. He got cloudy water instead
of absolutely clear water.
Rev. Brooks introduced Randy Chelette, president of Southern Aerobic Systems.
He said Houston, Texas has many on-site aerobic wastewater treatment plants.
This technology is the same thing they do in most municipal wastewater treatment
plants; they are just doing it on site. He said installation would actually
run about $4,500 without a disposal bill because you’re treating the water on-site
and putting it back in your existing sewer.
This probably won’t work for the downtown area with high-rise buildings and
this area would need to be handled in a more traditional approach. Jim Aton,
a consulting engineer, said of the 12,000 acres in the City which has combined
sewers, 32% of that is residential. There is a good deal of greenspace in these
basins and that greenspace can be used to locate the on-site treatment plants.
Each plant comes with a computer that can be called and told when to pump and
when not to pump.
This is highly adjustable storage. Mr. Marcotte pointed out that, in effect,
instead of building a big tunnel, you build little increments of a tunnel at
everybody’s house. Mr. Chelette said that you aren’t dealing with the sewer
water – only with water coming from the home. Leaving the aerobic tank is a
clear, odorless fluid that can be directly discharged to rivers and streams
because it meets EPA requirements.
The presenters clarified that these systems would achieve advance secondary
treatment, but not tertiary.
Nancy Wheatley asked how sensitive the bacteria are to household chemicals
that include chlorine, such as Clorox. Mr. Chelette said a small amount won’t
hurt the system but a large amount would kill the good bacteria.
Mr. Aton said the major downtown district where we have combined sewers needs
to be dealt with in a traditional approach, but that is only 12% of the total
Dr. Clough invited a few visitors to speak to the Panel. Steve Carr, a resident
of Grant Park who has been involved with the Neighborhood Planning Units for
many years and is the former chairman of APAB’s Environmental Committee, spoke
At his own building, which is a former industrial building, he has tanks set
up, including screening and filtration, and he catches storm water from the
roof and uses this water in a variety of applications. He suggested that this
can be used in the core of the City particularly for landscaping, window washing,
etc. The water in these on-site storage tanks, which can be put in parking lots,
can be used on-site or can be metered out into a separate storm water collection
system or a tunnel or whatever.
He is 100% in favor of full separation. He has grandfathered into an aerobic
system in his building and uses enzymes. He puts as few solids into his system
He says the distrust between the City and its citizens is still ongoing, but
citizens groups are getting more information now than in the past. They have
had problems with wrong numbers, including wrong land figures in which the City’s
$1.2 billion equates to $330,000 per acre for greenspace. They are not looking
for prime land; they are looking for the “scrap” land – for the low land in
the flood plains because that is where gravity forces water to go. This is unbuildable
land that could be used for greenspace.
Mr. Carr said that they have repeatedly asked for accountability on the CH2MHill
contracts and have not gotten that. Regarding the time issue, he said the City
should have immediately started mappings of the entire sewer system when Bill
Campbell signed the Consent Decree in 1998, but that has only been done recently.
He charged that the City has delayed the process to the point that they now
say they are out of time and must make a decision and the quickest way is with
His group was presented with information about the Bain Report – they have
not been given the actual report, which evaluates four separate areas of City
operations. They are sewer, storm water, greenways and parks. He thinks they
are all interconnected.
Dr. Harry Leon, a professional engineer and citizen activist, said the tunnel
storage system does not solve the CSO problem. It extends the combined sewer
another thousand feet or more. He outlined the specifications and why 100% sewer
separation is the best option. It meets the clean water standards, it corrects
deteriorated sewer pipes, it conserves storm water as a natural resource, it
poses no potential hazards to aquifers, it makes neighborhood creeks safe for
children, and there are low maintenance and operation costs.
He contends the problem is a political problem instead of an engineering problem
and said that certain politicians have been influenced by companies that will
directly benefit from the tunnel solution. “They have told consultants to obscure
the data to make tunnels to appear to be the lowest cost and quickest to build.
They don’t let the consultant even talk about solving all the CSO problems.”
Nashville separated its downtown section of sewers – which is built on solid
rock. They did it in less than two and a half years and the system had over
100,000 square feet, which is comparable in size to Atlanta’s Clear Creek area.
Nashville did it for less than $300 per foot. The consultants in Atlanta estimated
$1,400 per foot.
Dr. Leon said the ultimate question for the Panel is, do they want to side
with “greedy contractors who don’t care about what happens to our City but only
look for their maximum profit, or to keep your integrity and side with the citizens
and common sense for 100% sewer separation?”
The next presentation was by Justin Wiedeman, an engineer and NPU “A” Board
Member, and PMT Program Manager Joe Basista. They presented a conceptual modification
to the City’s Authorized CSO Plan. It gives an option on sewer separation and
storm water management with an emphasis on flood control.
This came about because in discussing Mr. Wiedeman’s refinement, the PMT found
that the plan is similar to the original 80% separation option in the Remedial
Measures Report (RMR) in that it looks at sewer separation and storm water management
(flood control). The PMT has been advancing their refinement options and one
of the options they have explored is 80% separation. While reviewing the PMT’s
refinement plans and Mr. Wiedeman’s plan, Mr. Basista found differences but
also found similarities, including the combination of full and partial separation
in the West Area, a smaller West Area tunnel system and flexibility to offer
relief to existing Peachtree sanitary trunk sewers.
Based on all these similarities, they agreed to identify a single integrated
refinement option. It is not yet known how much it will cost or if it can be
completed by 2007. They are still working on that.
It consists of two refinement options. The important points were to prioritize
public health with a focus on eliminating sanitary overflows and provide adequate
protection against flooding upstream and downstream of existing CSO facilities,
establish a system of components that provide flexibility to adapt management
schemes, meet future regulatory standards, minimize risk, provide incremental
benefits and clean water, consider a phased program that is flexible and can
accommodate time requirements for additional data needs, and promotes fair and
equitable rate structuring.
The Wiedeman/PMT refinement option for 80% separation would separate all combined
sewers except for in the downtown core.
Currently, the six CSO facilities discharge to small streams that flow through
neighborhoods and recreational areas for miles, prior to reaching rivers. A
fair amount of urban drainage runs through small streams and neighborhoods.
There are 60+ CSO discharges per year on the West side and 20 per year on the
There is insufficient storm water capacity within the combined system that
contributes to localized flooding, impaired quality of life, impacts to public
health, threatened economic development and real estate values. Mr. Wiedeman
contends that you have to look at storm water management upstream and downstream
of CSOs. Also, the Consent Decree does not address significant flooding problems
downstream of the CSOs.
They agreed to evaluate full separation of the East Area and partial separation
of the West Area with a target to provide separated conveyance infrastructure
for all but the urban core. If the East Area is separated, no deep tunnel system
is needed. If a smaller West Area tunnel system is constructed – if only sewage
from the urban core is handled, which is about 20% of the combined sewer area
– the tunnel system would be about 40% smaller than in the current authorized
plan. Mr. Wiedeman’s plan is that you could look at the possibility of future
tie-ins with existing Peachtree sanitary trunk sewers.
Mr. Wiedeman also looked at constructing a West combined sewage treatment facility
for ultimate incorporation into the R.M. Clayton WRC. The existing CSO facilities
would be utilized for treating storm water. Where sewers are separated, it’s
a great opportunity to coordinate separation construction with planned construction
from other agencies – water, streets, parks, etc.
It is generally believed that with separation you get two new systems. Generally,
in the smaller diameter combined sewer they would make that a sanitary sewer,
and downstream where there is the larger combined sewer, it seems to be working
pretty well as a storm sewer. However, some of the combined sewer is converted
into some sanitary and some storm sewer is converted into some new sanitary
and some new storm sewer.
Each refinement plan includes about $100 million for rehabilitation and capacity
improvements of the existing combined system.
Mr. Wiedeman’s plan would address surcharging and flooding in combined areas
upstream of existing CSO facilities and as a result also address downstream
flooding. It would determine the magnitude of recurrence and water quality issues
for overflows upstream of CSO facilities and develop hydrologic models to simulate
conditions downstream of CSOs and coordinate flood control infrastructure both
upstream and downstream.
Regarding separation on the East Side (ultimately to the Ocmulgee), this option
would focus the separation effort on the non-urban core and the combined urban
core, which may be easier served by an extended West Side tunnel system. The
plan would convert combined sewers to storm sewers (downstream) and sanitary
sewers (upstream) within each basin, beginning downstream. The plan would coordinate
separation construction with planned construction from other agencies and utilize
existing CSO facilities as storm water screening facilities.
On the East side, Mr. Wiedeman is stressing storm water management and flood
control. Mr. Wiedeman’s plan would require determination of the scope, magnitude
and water quality issues of overflows upstream of CSO facilities and development
of a hydrologic model to evaluate constraints and downstream controls (upstream
and downstream of CSO). Given the relative locations of the combined sewer basins
within the larger Ocmulgee basin, downstream flooding does not appear to be
an issue for separation.
The plan would construct limited detention upstream of McDaniel and Custer
CSO facilities based on hydrologic concerns and construct energy dissipation
and detention as appropriate adjacent to CSO and/or downstream of existing CSO
The West side is more complicated. The West tunnel storage and conveyance system
would be much smaller and would serve the combined flow for the entire urban
core – about 20% of the combined sewer area and 3% of the total City’s area.
Mr. Wiedeman’s original thought was that if the West tunnel could be aligned
to provide future tie-ins with the sanitary system, it could provide relief
to the Peachtree sanitary sewer trunks. The alignment of the West tunnel should
consider extension options to serve the small portion of the urban core on the
East, allowing easier full separation of East basins.
Mr. Wiedeman’s option looks at making the flexibility of a smaller West tunnel
and looking at the option of any separate treatment facility at the R.M. Clayton
site - that could ultimately be incorporated into the WRC there. This is different
than the RMR option, which provides a separate wet weather treatment facility.
It is not yet determined if there is available treatment capacity available
at the R.M. Clayton WRC to accomplish this.
In the plan both the East and the West side have a hybrid separation issue.
The plan would need to address storm water capacity limitations upstream of
the CSO facilities. There may be “targets of opportunity” – the non-urban core
combined sewer areas in the downtown area that they could be separated after
the plan is implemented. There are developments throughout the combined sewer
areas that are actually separated that “discharge” back into the combined sewer
The emphasis on flood control in the West looks a little different. His plan
would develop a hydrologic model and constraints to coordinate storm water flows
in the larger Peachtree Creek basin and incorporate conditions downstream of
CSOs and upstream into DeKalb County (not addressed by current plan).
The current authorized plan does not address downstream flooding in Peachtree
Creek, based on upstream flows outside City of Atlanta. Mr. Wiedeman’s plan
considers this earlier than the PMT plan. He would also construct limited detention
upstream of West CSOs based on hydrologic concerns and upgrade downstream conveyance
capacity, energy dissipation and additional detention.
Mr. Basista characterized Mr. Wiedeman’s plan as a holistic plan that is oriented
toward flood management instead of storm water treatment. Mr. Wiedeman agreed
saying that they would still be mechanically treating some component of the
storm water, but in the future, if there are opportunities to separate, it may
get to a point where it is possible to selectively treat storm flows and concentrate
on first flush. There is some storm water treatment and some limited decentralized
Mr. Basista reiterated that he doesn’t know if we can do this plan but he thinks
it is worth pursing to see what it would cost and how much time it would take.
In summary, the Weidman option is to separate all but the urban core – which
is about 80% separation. That would be done by separating the entire East side
and Greensferry on the West, and partially separating North Avenue, Tanyard
and Clear Creek. These are the three basins that comprise the urban core. Instead
of fully separating those basins, the plan would partially separate them, which
hasn’t been looked at before. This could achieve 97% separation of the entire
The smaller West tunnel may allow use of R.M Clayton WRC to treat combined
sewage. If this is possible, the plan would eliminate the new treatment plant
for the West. If the West side is discharged tothat smaller tunnel to the WRC
for advanced treatment, all the sanitary flow can possibly be routed to the
three partially separated basins.
Mr. Basista said that our separate sanitary system also has capacity limitations
that we are addressing in a separate consent decree. If this smaller tunnel
runs the flow to the WRC, this would eliminate the flow that goes from North
Avenue and Clear Creek going to the Peachtree trunk. That would significantly
relieve the Peachtree trunk. This is potentially a solution that could solve
Dr. Clough asked about the life span of this system. Mr. Basista answered that
it has the same life span as any other scenario. The design life of the PMT
plan is 25 years but the tunnel is 50 or 100 years.
The Plan refinement options the PMT is evaluating differs from the Wiedeman
plan in that under the Consent Decree the sizing of the storm sewers and the
sanitary sewers does address some surcharging and flooding upstream of CSO facilities.
That’s $100 million of additional work. The refinement would utilize the CSO
screening facilities for storm water. And any additional storm water management
improvements will require a future storm water utility.
The benefits/impacts of an 80% separation refinement:
Achieves 97% separation of total City system
Eliminates East tunnel system; eliminates East CSO treatment facility and possibly
West CSO treatment facility; and eliminates three CSOs (McDaniel, Custer and
Possibly offer significant relief to existing Peachtree Trunk sewers (if West
tunnel flow can be routed to WRC) – eliminate current sanitary and combined
sewage flow from Tanyard and Clear Creek
Possibly provides advanced treatment (at WRC) for combined sewage from urban
core (arguably the most polluted 20% of combined area)
Three remaining CSOs (North Avenue, Tanyard and Clear Creek) see an average
of four CSOs per year, but total sanitary flow is much reduced due to partial
separation. Possibly screen storm flow during 60+ smaller storms per year.
Tradeoff – captures 99%+ of total annual sanitary flow from combined area; but
captures and treats only 20% of total annual storm flow
Schedule (meets 2007 deadline?)and cost (less than Authorized Plan?) are yet
to be determined
Mr. Basista indicated that in general, the ongoing pre-design of the remedial
plan will develop complete separation plans for each basin and it includes a
storm water management plan for each basin to develop ideas of schedule and
costs. Nothing precludes storm water management from being implemented with
any of these separation plans.
When asked if they have looked into the disruption all this would cause, Mr.
Basista said it is one of the parameters they are trying to understand. They
will be able to identify shortly the number of crews in a basin, the hours they
will be working, etc. They will be able to show what level of disruption they
will face if a separation option is chosen.
By the end of September, the PMT will deliver complete separation plans, cost,
schedule and complete storm water management plans for each basin.
Mike Mynhier and Joe Basista then updated everyone on the status of the refinement
process. This week has several Consent Decree milestones that are being met
by the City – the pre-design reports for the Intrenchment Creek CSO treatment
facility and the pre-design report for the dechlorination facilities. These
reports will be completed and submitted on schedule.
Joe Basista distributed a summary of where the refinement process stands. This
handout is an attempt to put the basic issues of each refinement option on one
sheet of paper.
The authorized plan is tunnel storage and treatment in both the East and West
areas. 100% of the combined sewer area would get tunnel storage and treatment
to the three partially separated basins, and in addition we would separate 27%
of the combined sewer.
Refinement Option 1 would still provide 27% separation by separating multiple
full basins. That way it would be possible to downsize the tunnel accordingly.
This would be accomplished by separating Greensferry in the West and McDaniel
in the East and the Stockade sub-basin in the East. This would result in reduced
tunnel length and volume. Two CSOs and one regulator would be eliminated. The
estimated cost is less than the current authorized plan and it is currently
believed that it can be finished by 2007 deadline.
Under this plan, wherever sewers are separated, they will not treat storm water.
That is the downside of these plans. But all of these scenarios provide better
water quality than today.
Refinement Option 2 is 40% separation of multiple full basins. Fully separate
the East area – McDaniel and Custer basins. This would eliminate the East tunnel
system, the East area combined sewage treatment facility, two existing CSO facilities
and two regulators. The estimated cost of that would be about the same as the
authorized plan and it is likely that it can be implemented by November 2007.
Refinement Option 3 is 50% separation of multiple full basins. It is basically
the same as Option 2 but separation of the Greensferry basin is added. That
may even bring the cost down a little from Option 2. This is also likely to
be implemented by November 2007.
Refinement Option 4 is 80% separation of multiple full and partial basins.
This will be evaluated as described in Justin Wiedeman’s proposal that was outlined
earlier in the meeting. The costs and schedule are not yet known.
Dr. Clough then talked about guests and speakers for the August 23 meeting
of the Advisory Panel.
The Panel would like to hear from:
Harold Reheis of the EPD
Scott Gordon or other representative from EPA Region 4
Representative from the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper
Joel Cowan of the Metro North Georgia Water Planning District
Representative from Minneapolis (to describe their separation experience)
Representative from Milwaukee (to describe their experience with tunnels and
Someone from the PMT or City to talk about the City’s storm water plan
Update from Joe Basista on refinement options
Metro Chamber of Commerce Representative (to discuss status of their evaluation
of the City’s CSO Plan)
Minneapolis and Milwaukee representatives may make phone presentations. A panel
of people from the EPA, EPD, Metro North Georgia Water Planning District, and
Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper will come together to form a discussion group
instead of having individual presentations.
Dr. Clough then adjourned the meeting until the Advisory Panel meets again
August 23, 2002.